Ghosts'N Goblins

Walking through an arcade in 1985, you were guaranteed a few things: It would be lit primarily by neon or black lights, it'd smell like waffle cones and weed, and you'd hear Tempest, Pac-Man, Van Halen, Journey, and some kid yelling, "Dude! That's bullshit! I totally killed that guy! Augghh! This game is so hard!"

More often than not, that kid was playing the Capcom classic Ghosts'N Goblins.

Gameplay: After a long day of jousting with your enemies, you'd like to have a little joust of your own with your lovely Princess Guinevere. So you take her to the field, shimmy out of your bulky armor, and play some Bærry Wyte on your lute. Everything's going perfectly... right up until the big demon shows up and kidnaps her. Now you've got to fight your way through six levels of zombies, eyeball-spitting plants, wood wraiths, and too many different demons to count. Rescuing her is harder than it sounds, and you'll be reaching into your pocket for several weeks' worth of allowance if you want to make it to the end.

Could be mistaken for: Ghouls'N Ghosts, Castlevania

Kids today might not like it because: It's just as hard to finish the game today as it was 20 years ago. And just as frustrating.

Kids today might like it because: The (mostly) side-scrolling action is familiar, and watching your little knight run around in his underpants after he gets hit is pretty damn funny. Even though the game is spectacularly difficult, the magic of emulation makes it much less expensive to continue past the first level.

Enduring contribution to gaming history: That diabolical "continue" feature gave players the false hope that they could easily complete the game for just a few more quarters, a technique perfected by games like Smash TV, Gauntlet, and Total Carnage.

Wil Wheaton weighs the same as a duck, and is therefore made of wood.

Image courtesy of the International Arcade Museum and the Killer List Of Videogames.